Ray Allen is a two-time NBA champion, a 10-time All-Star and perhaps the best shooter in basketball history not named Steph Curry. And yet, never winning a national title remains a source of discontent.
Allen, who starred at Connecticut from 1993-96, helped the Huskies to the Elite Eight in 1995. UConn, however, lost to eventual national champion UCLA, 102-96.
“Yeah, it does bother you a little bit,” Allen said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “One of the great things about the tournament, it’s almost like you take a bunch of dice (and shake them up) and you just kind of throw them out onto the table. That is how the cookie crumbles when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. It’s all about how that bracket shakes down for you. It doesn’t even matter if you’re in the toughest bracket. Sometimes those teams, the No. 1 seed and the No. 2 seed, if you have a 4- or 5-seed, those seeds get beat all the time. So you can’t even worry about your own bracket. What you need to really focus on is that seed that’s right in front of you that you have to play in that next game – because you’re going to see other teams are looking too far ahead and they’re going to get beat by that team that’s standing in front of them that they got to really beat.
“So a path is created for you, but it’s going to require you to beat a good team,” Allen continued. “But there are going to be a lot of good teams that get beat. The underdogs, long-term, can they sustain that longevity in a tournament and win enough games to make it to the Final Four and ultimately win a championship? That’s the one thing that, for me, to defy the odds and make it all the way to the last game is probably the toughest and most rewarding feeling that you could ever have. I see it through other guys, and UConn, having won it multiple times, I do feel that sense of disappointment because I never was able to feel that feeling.”
Of course, even fewer people know what it feels like to win an NBA title, and Allen did that twice – once with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Boston and once with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami.
Allen, who turns 42 in July, hasn’t played in the NBA since 2014. Last summer, he was rumored to be interested in joining the Cavaliers or Warriors, but it never happened. Nor will it – or so we think.
Allen said that he’s “very content” in retirement but that he does “miss being out there.”
“There’s something about it,” he said. “You know what it’s like when you get that rush from the crowd, and really, there’s something about being in the locker room and improving from who you are at the beginning of the year to the end of the year. That’s a real movement. That’s a real feeling that you kind of lose, you miss. I do miss it out there. It takes so much now. There’s so much red tape. At my age, I didn’t want to put myself in a bad situation going forward.”